I attended the event at the Burlington International Airport on May 29, where the Air National Guard was attempting to address concerns about the new noise map for F-35 fighter planes. Most people I saw and heard had not “signed up” for this plan.

The individuals from the Air National Guard were standing at a table looking sharp in their dress uniforms, and they seemed ready and well prepared for the questions about nuclear weapons. When I asked about the possibility of F-35s carrying nuclear weapons, I received exactly what I expected: “There is no plan at this time for nuclear capability for the F-35.” As a Vietnam-era veteran, I have heard this kind of language before. I immediately wondered when that plan would change. Perhaps the guardsman are unaware that the Department of Defense stated in their 2018 Nuclear Posture Review:

“We are committed to upgrading the DCA with nuclear capable F-35 aircraft.” 

The people in our communities have spoken on numerous occasions. In May, the Vermont Senate passed a vote for no nuclear weapons in Vermont. I personally do not want the F-35s in our community or our state. They belong on a military base that is not set in the largest populated county, next to an international airport … so when the plan changes to have nuclear capability, the aircraft will already be where they belong.

Sally Millichamp

South Burlington

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